Senior Yanik Ariste wins award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

On Feb. 7, senior Yanik Ariste was presented the “Business & Entrepreneurship Youth Award” at the ceremony by BBVA Compass.


Yanik Ariste

Yanik Ariste striking a pose at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s 19th Annual Youth Awards.

On Feb. 7, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) graciously hosted the 19th Annual Youth Awards on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Senior Yanik Ariste was among the seven National Youth Awardees that were honored that day by the HHF, along with their sponsors, members of Congress and business leaders from around the country.

Ariste first came across the HHF’s Annual Youth Awards perusing the internet. Intrigued by the “Business & Entrepreneurship” category and the prestige of the ceremony, she decided to apply and immediately submitted the five required essays as well as a list of her credentials. Luckily, undergoing the extensive and tedious application process worked out to her advantage, and following her interview with HHF representatives Brenda Camarillo and Andrés Rothe through Google Hangouts on Jan. 10, she was officially notified that she had won the award.

The HHF flew out Ariste and her mother (all expenses paid) via Southwest Airlines and on the day of the event, Ariste was treated to her own personal Macy’s makeup artist and stylist to design her look. At the ceremony, Ariste was presented the “Business & Entrepreneurship Youth Award” by Alejandra Castillo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Young Women’s Christian Association. Like the other six recipients, she was chosen from a group of over 200 Regional Awardees and more than 10,000 applicants— an amazing feat.

Every awardee prided themselves in their high grade point averages and countless community service hours under their belt, but students like Ariste, who advanced to the national level, were additionally selected based on their leadership skills in and out of the classroom and outstanding dedication to their respective categories, which ranged from Community Service, Technology, Media and Entertainment and more.

“It’s inspiring that there are organizations like the Hispanic Heritage Foundation that are actively trying to encourage minorities, specifically Latinos and Latina women, to do business because the underrepresentation in these industries is very real,” Ariste said.

During her three-day trip, Ariste had the opportunity to meet and talk to Antonio Tijerino, the CEO and president of HHF. She and fellow awardees also received grants for their project of choice and will be part of a national multi-media campaign under the hashtag #NationalYA. Although she is undecided about what to major in college, after this life-changing experience, business and economics are high up on her radar.